Breast Cancer Mortality Drops in U.S., Other Countries

Mammography, adjuvant treatment contribute equally to bringing rate down

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer mortality rates in the United States and other countries have fallen from 48.3 deaths/100,000 women in 1975 to 38 deaths/100,000 women in 2000, with screening and therapy both contributing to the improvement, according to a study in the Oct. 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The research was conducted by the Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network, with the consortium of investigators developing seven different statistical models of breast cancer incidence and mortality.

The models attributed 28% to 65% of the decline in mortality to better screening, with a median of 46%. In each model, the remainder of mortality reduction was attributed to adjuvant treatment. There was greater variability across the models for screening than for treatment.

"These are seven top modeling groups applying their efforts to the best data that we have available in this country," the study's lead author Donald Berry, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Applied Mathematics at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said in a statement. "While we didn't agree with each other as to the percentages of benefit, all seven groups concluded that the decline in the rate of death from breast cancer is a combination of screening and therapy and not restricted to one or the other."

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